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      How I Won the War

      1967 1h 49m Comedy War List
      44% Tomatometer 16 Reviews 61% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings Captured by German soldiers, British officer Ernest Goodbody (Michael Crawford) details his history as a commanding officer. While he describes himself as a noble and heroic officer, the truth is that he is a bumbling idiot whose own ineptitude and idiocy ends up costing the lives of most of his company. As his own men continue to drop like flies, their ghosts remain on the battlefield, marching along with their commanding officer even after death. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (16) Critics Reviews
      Penelope Houston Sight & Sound The first problem with How I Won the War is that the basic farce is not all that funny. Mar 18, 2020 Full Review Variety Staff Variety Patrick Ryan's novel has been adapted into a screenplay which, as directed by Richard Lester, substitutes motion for emotion, reeling for feeling, and crude slapstick for telling satire. Sep 10, 2007 Full Review Geoff Andrew Time Out Dated, maybe, but Lester's gruesomely black anti-war comedy still looks inventive, and manages occasionally to hit home with its blend of surreal lunacy and barbed satire. Feb 9, 2006 Full Review Gene Youngblood Los Angeles Free Press We've been handed this kind of tripe in every Terry Thomas, Peter Sellers, Martin and Lewis, Laurel and Hardy Army spoof ever made. Jan 31, 2020 Full Review Manny Farber Artforum It suggests an overaged boyishness almost incapable of relating to the hard-nosed, dry, sardonic war films supposedly under attack here. Oct 3, 2018 Full Review Penelope Houston The Spectator A film so critical of others' attitudes should perhaps have given more positive vetting to its own. Apr 11, 2016 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (77) audience reviews
      martin a Really hard to watch, and not easy to follow, also John Lennon looks very uncomfortable;e or maybe it is just poor acting skills Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Dear God, what a mess. A great company of actors completely lost at sea under Richard Lester's characteristically sloppy and self-indulgent direction. Charles Wood's script foreshadows and borrows from the film and stage versions of O What a Lovely War, but it's as ramshackle as the platoon it's satirising. John Lennon bizarrely gets co-star billing for a walk-on role, but it's Michael Crawford who leads, well-supported by the likes of Michael Hordern, Lee Montague, Jack Hedley and Jack McGowran. Deservedly a flop. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Not very good and very misleading, it creates the impression that Lennon is the star but in fact hes barely even in it.Overly silly and the blurry grungy video quality doesn't help. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/24/23 Full Review Audience Member Richard Lester's anti-war comedy is kind of shaky and doesn't hold up well...but Lester's most brilliant move seems to have been casting Beatle John Lennon in the film...probably the main reason it is still even sought after at all. I do think the idea of showing archived footage of a battle tinted a color while a member of the troop dies, and having a sort of ghostly figure represent each dead member of the troop colored the same tint as the battle is a great visual idea, but the execution was somewhat sloppy and it doesn't entirely work. And while there are some mildly humorous parts early on...the film isn't all that funny, and it's stark comment on war isn't as poignant or as strong as it probably should be. The movie tries, isn't totally worthless, but really the main reason to watch it (and the reason I have seen it a couple of times) is that you get to see John Lennon acting (and he is a rather decent actor for the part). Otherwise...not the best anti-war film of that era or any other. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Darkly humourous - far funnier than you may've been led to believe in fact - and a terrific cast. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member British film director Richard Lester directed some great movies in his time and had quite a flair for comedy films. How I Won The War was not one of Lester's best. It is enjoyable but Lester does not seem to have the same affinity for this project as Robert Aldritch had in The Dirty Dozen (definitely not a comedy but still a subversive look at the War movie) or Robert Altman had for M*A*S*H* (a comedy and far more subversive than the TV series that followed). Lester does include clever bits where character's break the fourth wall; incorporates actual newsreel war footage; and has soldiers who die in the course of the film reappearing as monochromatic ghosts. Michael Crawford stars as a hapless British officer who manages to get most of his men killed in North Africa while on a top-secret mission to set up a cricket pitch behind enemy lines. The most famous cast member is John Lennon of the Beatles who had worked with Lester on the classic Hard Days Night film. Also on hand is Lester regular Roy Kinnear along with Jack MacGowran and Michael Hordern. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/24/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      How I Won the War

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Captured by German soldiers, British officer Ernest Goodbody (Michael Crawford) details his history as a commanding officer. While he describes himself as a noble and heroic officer, the truth is that he is a bumbling idiot whose own ineptitude and idiocy ends up costing the lives of most of his company. As his own men continue to drop like flies, their ghosts remain on the battlefield, marching along with their commanding officer even after death.
      Director
      Richard Lester
      Producer
      Richard Lester
      Screenwriter
      Charles Wood
      Production Co
      Petersham Pictures
      Genre
      Comedy, War
      Original Language
      English (United Kingdom)
      Release Date (DVD)
      Mar 20, 2011
      Runtime
      1h 49m